Grandma's Secret: Empowering Women through Solar Powered Herbal Teas
The 1980's textile boom in Mauritius drove many women to work in textile factories. However, when the textile factories closed, women became unemployed and could no longer send their children to school. "Women were still jobless, staying at home, suffering from domestic violence and having babies almost every year. So in 2006, after meeting with 20 women, all of them unemployed mothers, we decided to use their traditional knowledge about conservation to cultivate medicinal plants, conserve biodiversity and improve their livelihood." - Ano...
 
Less Turtle Bycatch, More Marine Diversity: Using technology to protect sea turtles
Marine turtles play a key role in the marine ecosystem of Malaysia. However, marine...
 
Jamaican Iguana: Back from virtual extinction
Declared extinct in 1948, the Jamaican Iguana was rediscovered half a century later in the Hellshire Hills. UNDP/GEF SGP’s strategic support to recovery efforts is now reaping major results in 2018....

Our Mission

Established in 1992, the year of the Rio Earth Summit, the GEF Small Grants Programme embodies the very essence of sustainable development by "thinking globally acting locally". By providing financial and technical support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people's well-being and livelihoods, SGP demonstrates that community action can maintain the fine balance between human needs and environmental imperatives.

Where we work

Our stories

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Grandma's Secret: Empowering Women through Solar P...
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Less Turtle Bycatch, More Marine Diversity: Using ...
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Jamaican Iguana: Back from virtual extinction...
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Get down to work: Independent recovery efforts blo...
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Prosper under the Sun...
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SGP Colombia shares lessons from its ICCA projects...
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SGP co-organizes the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration o...
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SGP and ICCA-GSI partners at the CBD COP 14...
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Benin: Preserving the sacred forests of Wèwèrè ...
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Malaysia: Finding a win-win situation on overlaps...

We are delighted to welcome Yoko Watanabe as our new Global Manager of the GEF Small Grants Programme. Yoko has over 20 years of professional experiences working on biodiversity and natural resources management in close partnership with civil society and indigenous peoples.

Yoko webPrior to becoming the fourth Global Manager of the Small Grants Programme, Yoko worked for over a decade at the GEF Secretariat where she headed the GEF’s operation in the Asia region. In this position, she coordinated the GEF’s largest regional portfolio of over $1 billion, including biodiversity, climate change, sustainable land and forest management, international waters, and chemical and wastes issues. She also managed the Gender and Social Issues Team at the GEF, while engaged in indigenous peoples and gender equality and women's empowerment issues. Yoko was also a Program Manager on Biodiversity, and passionate about saving endangered species with local communities.

Ms. Watanabe also worked at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), first as a Conservation Director at the Mongolia Country Office and then as a Senior Advisor on Multilateral Relations at the US Office. She started her career in 1995 at UNDP as a Programme Officer on Environment working at the Nepal and Mongolia Country Offices, and provided oversight and supervision to the SGP operation at the country level.

Yoko holds a master's degree in International Development with a focus on Environment and Natural Resources Management from the American University in Washington DC. For her undergraduate, she studied Environmental Studies and Development Economics at the Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo and University of Oregon. Yoko grew up in Japan, Austria, and Singapore, and loves spending time in the outdoors, particularly skiing and hiking with her husband and two girls.